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Through Space and Time - Part 5 - The Oasis
Through Space and Time - Part 5

The Oasis

So I waited as I was told in the small garden of the Karavanserai. A fountain sprayed a small fountain that pleasantly humidified and cooled the hot desert air. I made myself comfortable on the marble bench in front of the fountain and looked at the flowers. You could hear birdsong everywhere.


Birds kept sitting on the edge of the fountain and drinking from the cool water.
Some also hopped in and bathed, then jumped out feeling refreshed and shaking their feathers. It was really a very nice place where I immediately felt comfortable. I never got bored watching them. After a while they became trusting and came to my bench themselves.

What felt like an hour later, Mara arrived - she introduced herself as the head harem lady of the Emir of the Oasis.
Her face was delicate and she had long black hair that was artfully curled.


She sat down on the bench next to me and began by telling me her story.


For a long time she was the Prince of Kalahari's preferred harem lady before he gave her to his Emir as a token of recognition for loyal service. The Emir was very pleased with his gift and impregnated her. She gave him a son who in turn went to the Kalahari court to be educated. So the prince secured the oasis for himself, and the emir testified of his loyalty.

Mara had managed to win the Emir's favor so much that he no longer felt much interest in his harem.
But his position required him to maintain a harem. So Mara organized it and gave the women tasks so that they wouldn't get stupid ideas out of boredom.

When there were no distinguished guests in the oasis, the women took care of organizing the slaves.
They maintained contacts with craftsmen and traders and also took care of providing food.
But they spent a lot of time together in the bathroom, garden, and sewing clothes. I should get to know this more thoroughly.

But when caravans came to the oasis, life in the harem changed immediately. Then there was immediately a lot of activity in the Karavanserai.
The women had to entertain the rich merchants. They were assigned to dance in the Karavanserai tavern and were also offered as hospitality to the noble guests. It was also their job to serve as the emir's adornment at receptions in the palace.

Word quickly spread among the merchants of the Silk Road, which led to the oasis becoming a base on the Silk Road route. This resulted in good business and rich tax revenues in the oasis. The Emir had managed to turn a water source into a gold source.

Through it all, Mara stood by his side. She had been sent to university in Kalahari by the king because the king loved cultivated conversation in his harem. When the king gave Mara to his emir, he was pleased with her great knowledge, which set her apart from all the other women in the harem.

But Mara also had other qualities. In the king's harem there was a strict education in matters of love.
The old, experienced harem women had to teach the new ones all conceivable arts of seduction.
In Mara they had probably found a very talented student who eagerly absorbed everything that would help her status in the harem.
She knew that it was pointless to stand in the way of all the young entrants to the harem, so she organized for the king that the inexperienced young girls took part in the erotic games in addition to her. So she remained the center of attention, but never made it monotonous or boring for the king.

When she was given to the Emir, she was initially very sad to lose her position as the king's first harem lady. She felt like she was being sidelined. But as soon as she was here in the oasis, she recognized her and Chace's fortunate situation. Unlike the king, the emir was easily fixated on her and he idolized her. And she did everything to keep this position. She told me not to try to poach in her territory, then we could become good friends.

So we slowly started talking. She tried to find out more about me so she could better assess me.
Of course that was difficult because I couldn't tell her the truth about myself, that I came from the future.

As the daughter of a rich archaeologist, I had studied Egyptology just like him. Knowing that I will probably never have to work properly in my life.
So it happened that I traveled a lot in Arab countries, which also took me on an expedition to Egypt. But that was centuries later...

Now I was caught in a time that thwarted all my plans. But my knowledge of these ancient times helped me in this situation.
So I was able to piece together a believable story about myself that I told Mara. I assured her that I had no interest in her emir, which visibly relaxed her. I said nothing about the fact that I had seen him as a stately, attractive man on the roof garden of the palace. I also remained silent about his looks that were aimed at me.


Mara made herself comfortable and laid her head on my lap. We chatted animatedly and immediately liked each other.
She said again that we could become friends and that she would help me get proper employment and education in the oasis.

I didn't know that she had already noticed that my knowledge wasn't bad. She feared this could seriously jeopardize her position in the harem. She wasn't worried about the other women, they couldn't hold a candle to her, she would take care of that.
She already had a plan for me... that was supposed to take me far away. All she had to do was deal with the Emir and then she would take care of me.

I was taken to my own small room, which was of course locked from the outside. Food was regularly delivered to the room, as were cool drinks. I didn't lack anything except freedom. When it got cooler towards evening another Skalvin came to me. Her name was Salome, and she said that Mara had sent her.


Salome's job was to teach me dance. I tried hard, but my talent was definitely not dancing.
But I also didn't want to jeopardize the little bit of status that my long blonde hair had given me in an Arab harem.
So I practiced belly dancing with Salome until it became somewhat acceptable. But I fully assumed that the eyes of my viewers wouldn't rest on my hips.


While we were dancing, the caravan leader who sold me came in and sat comfortably in front of the stage. He looked our bodies from bottom to top and back again. He probably regretted selling me without a taste.
He watched us for a long time and smiled when he noticed my still stiff attempts at belly dancing. Then he pulled two silver coins out of the bag for me and Salome and threw them to us. We thanked him politely and hid the coins in our clothes.

Then Amira joined us. She had discreetly come into the room where we were practicing and was also watching the belly dancing practice. She would soon prove to be a great help.


She was quite tall and had a very stocky figure, thick thighs and a strong bottom. The breasts were still marked by a previous pregnancy, heavy and large. Everything that corresponded to the Arabs' ideal of beauty was available in abundance.
She came from the upper Nile and had gained a lot of experience in the harem for years. I had already met her as a masseuse, but we didn't speak a word. At that time I hardly saw her because I was lying on my stomach.

She waited until we were done dancing then introduced herself. Mara had told her to look after me and to instruct me in the art of love at court. I was embarrassed at first, and I'm definitely not going to talk about it much.

She gradually added more and more erotic moves to the daily massage, which made me delighted.
She described these to me in detail and checked again and again to see if I had kept them.
I noticed that she had a lot of experience in seduction and after a while I started to enjoy it.
When she saw how I was enjoying this, she started encouraging me to try out the moves I had learned on her.
She said that most of the women in the harem pampered each other with their girlfriends. The Emir never had time for her, and Mara watched over that very closely. And there were no other men in the harem.

So the days in the Karavanserai passed with learning and exploring. However, I wondered why she wanted to teach me how to pleasure other women. I had expected that she would let me in on the Emir's wishes - but that never happened. Well Mara already had her plans...


I was now allowed to leave my room in Amira's company and take a look at the oasis. She stayed by my side day and night, as Mara had commanded her. First we inspected the Karavanserai. This turned out to be a rectangular fortification structure with 2 gates on the two central sides.
It wasn't particularly big, but still offered a lot of comfort for the caravan merchants, who weren't particularly spoiled.
Between these gates ran the path from which all buildings could be reached. Stairs led to the roof, which was reinforced with battlements.

The large bathroom dominated the ground floor on one side, and above that were the emir's palace rooms, which I didn't yet know.
Following the bath there was the small park with its treasure - the fountain. I already loved this little garden, it now became my favorite place where I often spent time with Amira.

On the other side of the main path were the rooms for the caravans. Warehouse, bedrooms, tavern, kitchen and the room where the dancers performed in the evening. The latter also had niches for retreating with the dancing slaves.

We went in and I looked at the tavern for the Emir's guests. The furnishings were noble, completely different from the Bedouin tent furnishings.
A richly decorated wooden counter dominated the room. In the middle there are thick carpets on the floor and gilded delicate armchairs and tables. The kitchen and taverns were located on the sides. I already knew the rooms when I arrived, but I only looked at them superficially. Now I noticed a lot of details.

The next room was for dancing and entertainment. In the middle of the room a provocative dancing slave enchanted. The merchants sat all around and looked at her benevolently. The girls changed often, and when one had finished her dance she could be waved into side rooms for private audiences, of which the merchants made ample use. We left the room again and went out through the fortress gate. We had to run errands.

Directly in front of the gate, on the outer wall of the Karavanserai, the women of the village washed their laundry


Outside the caravanserai, the lagoon with the craftsmen and traders stretched in one direction. There were farmers, traders, carpenters, bakers, millers, potters,... Most of the buildings were simple, one-story, one-room brick houses, covered with old, weathered plaster. Some had additions. A few have a second floor.

Our route first took us to the farm to order supplies for the tavern. I recognized the path that stretched from here into the desert. On this I reached the oasis with the caravan. The courtyard was actually beautifully situated, it stretched all the way to the side wall of the caravanserai.

I saw grapes, grains, and many vegetables. I had already seen dates and coconut trees at the lagoon. The farmers here apparently produced all of the basic foodstuffs for the oasis. There was also animal husbandry: horses, camels, goats and sheep were bred here, and there was also poultry. Nevertheless, all the farming families lived in poor one-room houses.


At every house you could clearly see the prosperity that the profession made possible for its residents. Work didn't make you rich - trade did.

Because the dealer's house right on the market was completely different. There was a large shop downstairs with a storage room where the finest carpets produced in the oasis were sold.



Many women in the oasis worked at home for him. He in turn traded with the passing caravans, sold the carpets and used them to purchase other goods for the oasis. He traded almost everything except Skaven. He was a devout Muslim and didn't want to get his hands dirty with the slave trade.

He had become rich through trade and built the largest and most beautiful house in town. It had a separate living room on the upper floor and cozy roof terraces. Amira knew him well because she bought materials from him for the Haram women's clothing. We were warmly welcomed in the private rooms upstairs and served tea. I was able to take a look at the oasis from the roof terrace.
Back then I didn't know that Amira and he sometimes met secretly.


Afterwards, errands took us to the pottery. We found the potter and his wife both sitting at the wheel making clay pots.



The pottery kiln was burning behind the house.
They only made simple everyday ceramics, nothing valuable. But we needed something for the tavern. It wasn't ready yet so we moved on.

Directly next to it was the baker - the only one in the oasis. But he made very good bread in his Roman wood-fired oven. It is said to be the oldest surviving structure in the oasis.


I had eaten this bread several times and found it to be much better than the factory products from my home country.
He lavishly greeted the "Pearls of the Orient" and wished that Allah would grant us a beautiful day. Then he gave each of us a sesame seed ring. We thanked him politely and moved on.

Now we walked to the mosque, which was right on the water. I had heard the call to prayer several times...
In the well in front of it, men washed their feet before entering. There were a striking number of fountains in the oasis. I had already seen a well right in front of the Karavanserai where women washed their clothes on the float.


The windmill towered on a hill above the mosque. I knew this Arabic axial construction method and had once seen a model of it in a lecture. I recognized that immediately. The design was simple and ingenious, but required that the wind always blow from one direction.

This was the case here thanks to the channeling effect of the mountains. During the day the wind came from the hot desert towards the lagoon.
I wanted to take a closer look at this building and asked Amira to take us there. She also knew the miller - who would have thought.... So we were allowed to take a long look around.

Facing the wind, funnel-shaped solid walls channeled and condensed it. Then they steered it to one side of the wind turbine, which had a vertical axis. The other side of the wind turbine remained in the slipstream.
The wall around the wind turbine was round. The wind was only allowed to leave the building on the opposite side of the building.


The wind turbine itself was stored at both ends of the Ache. Below in the upper part of the cone mill wheel, and above on a transverse beam.
The axle beam ran directly through a hole in the ceiling of the building into the mill chamber below, and was firmly connected to the upper mill wheel with wedges. The lower half of the cone mill wheel was elevated on the ground.
The two halves of the cone formed a gap that ran inward and downward at about 45 degrees all around.
Since the lower half of the mill wheel had a larger diameter, grain could be poured in from above, which would then travel downwards, crushed during the milling process. The weight of the wind turbine construction increased the contact pressure on the grain.


The fine flour came out of the hole in the lower mill wheel and fell into 6 collecting funnels arranged all around. Each of these funnels had a vent and made it possible to fill sacks hanging underneath.


The standing construction eliminated the need for force redirection in the mill, which made it very easy to manufacture and low-maintenance.

There were still a few simple huts around the oasis, which you could clearly see from the Mill hill. Since Amira did the shopping for the Karavanserai, she knew all the craftsmen personally.


But overall the oasis was very small. I enjoyed the view from up here, also because there was a cooling breeze blowing up here.

I asked Amira if she would like to leave here if it were possible.
She said she didn't know where to go and she was fine here. But getting away from the oasis would also be almost impossible.
There would be nothing but desert all around for days, and no caravan would want to mess with the Emir and take you with them.

At the foot of the mill hill, I noticed a dark-looking Bedouin tent. It was hidden behind the mosque, right on the water. Horses camped in front of it.

Amira told me that these were probably robbers, but they were tolerated because they were doing good business with the oasis. The Emir liked to buy goods from raided caravans from them because he got them at half the price. But the Karavanserai's guards would be doubled as long as they were present. At least they would be tolerated as long as they didn't attack the oasis. Their headquarters should be hidden somewhere in a large cave in the mountains.

She also told me that these robbers were probably the only ones who could help me escape. But you have to pay them properly and you never know whether you can trust them. It could also happen that they collect the reward for the curse and then offer one at the Kalahari slave market. Business is business.
- I now learned that the Kalahari slave market was also the destination of the caravan that had brought me here. Good thing I was spared that.

We descended into the oasis and approached the fortress gate that guarded the caravanserai's entrance from the village side.
A poor knife grinder sat in front of it. Not far next to him was the entrance to the oasis' second tavern.

This was a wicked place, a dive bar. Camel drivers, robbers, day laborers, slave traders and even some simple craftsmen frequented here when his wife wasn't paying attention. Evil characters met there over bad food and cheap wine. There was gambling, erotic dancing and the innkeeper rented out girls.

Eyes that were supposed to drive away the evil eye were hanging on the wall - did that help? You can find a trading partner for every crooked business, Amira said.

On the floor above there was a mass quarters belonging to the tavern. The simple men of the caravan slept here. Behind the tavern there was a very old barn in which there were still remains of a wooden nativity scene. There were strange rumors circulating about this barn; mystical things were said to have happened here a long time ago. At that time the oasis was still under Roman rule.

On the way home we strolled past a few stalls of hawkers. I discovered a small stand that had old oil lamps.
Amira looked at the old stuff with disdain and talked to the seller about how he dared to sell such old garbage here. A lively conversation developed between the two.

Following my bad habit, I had touched the lamps with my fingers. One of the lamps had an inscription on the edge of the cloth. I ran my finger over it, lost in thought.
Suddenly the lamp came to life - a brown mist escaped from it and formed into a transparent, ghostly shape. This spoke to me: “What can I serve with?”


A look to my right confirmed that the dealer was still distracted. I said quietly - "Hide again" and the ghost disappeared into the lamp.

I was so surprised, I had always thought these were fairy tales to put little children to bed. When the dealer came back I didn't notice anything. He was visibly angry with Amira. And Amira was also excited and went to the fish stand on the other side. I was unobserved for a moment.


I spoke to him - "I know that these are old lamps, but as a poor slave I can't afford anything better. How much should a lamp like that cost?"
He took the most beautiful one in his hand and asked for 5 silver pieces - which was certainly outrageously overpriced.

It's really nice, but I can't afford it, the old lamp over there would do it for me too, I said and pulled out the silver piece I just earned today. I held this up to him. He complained that children were starving, etc. Now I already knew all the sayings from the carpet dealers in Cairo 2023.

I gave him a smile. He understood that I was not an easy victim and agreed to the deal. I paid and quickly hid the lamp under my loose robes. Now I had a little secret from Amira.

She returned unsuspectingly with fish for dinner and we headed home.


We went back and I hid my little lamp. Then we met in the harem bath and performed the evening washing ceremony.
This time I was looking forward to her subsequent massage. We took turns massaging and applying cream, while pampering each other. Then we lay down together on one of the comfortable sofas. We talked skin to skin.

I spent the night awake under tension because I would have loved to explore my lamp, but that was not possible here and now without attracting attention.

So the new day dawned...

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